These two images couldn’t be more poles apart, yet both have thrust retailer Gap Inc into the limelight and are creating a buzz on social media; albeit for different reasons.
The public is celebrating one for its acknowledgment of America’s ethnic diversity, while the other is being posted on various social media forums in outrage for Gap’s dealings with Chinese companies that allegedly subject Angora rabbits to cruel abuse.
The company is in the midst of yet another controversy regarding the material it outsources from abroad.
It is currently coming under fire for its silence following a recent undercover video (watch above) published by PETA Asia that exposed the abuse of Angora rabbits in China. Like other popular retailers such as Calvin Klein and H&M, Gap imports Angora fur from China, as it is the world’s largest producer. However, unlike Calvin Klein and H&M, Gap has yet to take a stand against the Chinese companies that are incriminated in the disturbing video.
Watch video here (WARNING: The video contains graphic images).
Earlier this year, Gap Inc’s imports raised many eyebrows when it was revealed that these goods were produced in Bangladeshi garment factories that subject their workers to deplorable conditions.
While investigating how the Angora fur was being plucked from rabbits, the animal rights group captured disturbing footage from nine unidentified farms in China between June and September. After PETA exposed the appalling animal abuse to the execs of both H&M and PVH (the parent company of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, IZOD, ARROW, Van Heusen), the companies have responded by either halting production (H&M) or completely pulling the now tainted product from its shelves and banning any products made with angora (PVH).
PETA and other animal rights advocates are demanding that companies, such as Gap Inc as well as Spanish retailer Zara, take a similar stand. According to Huffington Post, both companies have yet to make a public statement and failed to respond to the website’s inquiries earlier this week.
That’s a bad move on Gap’s part because now it must face serious public backlash. If you visit the retailer’s Facebook page, you will find at least a few comments (screenshot below) on each post criticizing Gap for its implicit support of ‘sensitive sweet rabbits.”
Gap has barely recovered from the negative publicity for doing business with Bangladeshi exporters, who subject their garment workers to harsh working conditions.
Furthermore, staying silent on the issue is counterproductive at a time it’s trying to woo the American public with its stance on celebrating ethnic diversity. Take a look at one of the most talked about advertisements in recent months.
Gap should make up its mind and figure out a consistent message to portray to the American public.